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Game Info:

Petz Beach
Developed by: Ubisoft
Published by: Ubisoft
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Available  on: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Simulation
Number of Players: Single-Player
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $29.99
(Amazon affiliate link)

Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!

In a town far, far, away that you get to name, there's a mayor looking for someone to help the town grow by making its villagers happy.    There are multiple ways to please them including delivering packages, caring for their pets, or expanding their various collections.  As more residents move in, new attractions will open up.

Since everyone in this town is required to own a pet, one of your first stops is the adoption center where you can pick a dog to call your own.   At first the breed selection is limited, but there are 28 breeds available in this title.  Later on in the game you can adopt cats and unlock dolphins, polar bears and penguins.   Since the dogs are the only trainable creatures (in this game) we'll focus on them. 

Petz Beach
Highlights:

Strong Points: A decent alternative for kids asking for a new puppy or kitten; fun facts provided by Britannica kids 
Weak Points: Repetitive delivery quests; audibly training pets will take a few tries to get right (though this is still faster than training puppies in real life!); No intuitive way to delete the game save
Moral Warnings: None!

There is a trainer that can teach your dog tricks and skills.  The skills are a good way to make money in this game.  I preferred searching for fish, insects, mushrooms, fossils, shells, and random trash more than delivering packages to the residents.  Sniffing out sea shells and mushrooms is pretty easy and you just have to follow your dog's cues to get to the right place to dig.  Catching fish and insects requires precision to bark at the right moment and utilizes the 3DS motion sensor to catch them at the proper time.   The digging mini-game reminded me of Minesweeper with the clues for finding the right square on the grid to dig next.

The tricks are optional and in my opinion, more trouble than they are worth.  To learn a trick the dog has to recognize and obey hand signals and a voice command.  Getting the voice prompts to register took several attempts for me.  

Besides spending money on training, you'll have to buy food, water, and bathing supplies for your pets.  There's a lot of variety including organic, canned and dry food.  Unfortunately, tap water is not an option and you have to hydrate your animals with bottled water.  If you have multiple animals, they can share water and compatible food.  I thought it was funny that the cats in this game don't mind getting bathed.   A mini-game for getting them to sit still through the process would  have been fun.  

Petz Beach
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Petz Beach will appeal to girls who like playing dress-up with their dolls and toys.  In this game you can dress up your creatures in numerous silly outfits all year round.  I stopped at putting a collar on my dog.  The farthest I would go is a bandana perhaps, but a bee outfit with antennae for the head crosses the line for me. 

There's a lot of variety in the outfits and animals available.  The animals are nicely detailed and their animations are cute.  The outside world, while offering 3D effects, didn't impress me.  I did like how you could see through the walls to see your pet when they're behind a building.

The background music is generic but pleasant to listen to.  The villagers have generic voice sounds that remind me of the voices in the Charlie Brown cartoons.  Throughout the day there are news flashes that tell of the town's growth and happenings.  I was amused when I got lectured for not saving my game properly after I resumed from my cartridge accidentally ejecting.   Fortunately, the game auto-saves frequently.

Petz Beach is a kid friendly game that can teach kids fun facts about animals with the various tidbits shared during loading screens.  This game can be a great tool to teach responsibility to that child asking for a new puppy or kitten.  Who knows, it may even help buy some time before buying one.  

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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